Washington’s artists, cultural institutions, and cultural leaders play an important part in inspiring and growing the state’s cultural vitality. In 1966, the Governor Arts Awards were established to recognize their contributions. That year, Patrons of Northwest Civic, Cultural and Charitable Organizations (PONCHO), an organization that formed to help boost Seattle arts, was the first organization to be honored with a Governor’s Arts Award. In 1989 Heritage Awards were added to the program to honor tradition bearers and heritage organizations. Coordinated by the Washington State Arts Commission (ArtsWA), the program has recognized 244 organizations and individuals over the years for their extraordinary achievements in the field.
“Arts and heritage play a major part in defining our state, whether it be the renowned cultural institutions and amazing artists, or the vibrant community events, festivals, and traditional activities that take place all across our state,” said Karen Hanan, ArtsWA Executive Director. “These accomplishments impacted our creative economy to the tune of over 22-billion dollars in 2016, and that’s another good reason to celebrate.”
The 2018 recipients include six individuals and two organizations from around the state:
Arts Award – Community Mery Swanson (Aberdeen)
Arts Award – Individual Artist Preston Singletary (Seattle)
Arts Award – Legacy Jim Kelly (Seattle)
Arts Award – Organization Get Lit! Programs (Spokane)
Arts Award – Philanthropy Edmund Littlefield (Arlington)
Arts Award – Young Leader Leah Wilson-Velasco (Walla Walla)
Heritage Award – Individual Artist/Practitioner Patsy Surh O’Connell (Gig Harbor)
Heritage Award – Organization Port of Kennewick (Kennewick)
If you plan to attend:
Tickets are $40 and include passed appetizers, a three-course dinner, and entertainment. Buy tickets through the Admiral Theatre website.
Doors open at 5 p.m. for a no-host cocktail hour. The dinner and program will be held between 6-9 p.m.
If you plan to attend from Seattle to Bremerton on the Washington State Ferry, you’ll want to check the ferry schedule.